International search for plane missing off Senegal

An air and sea search involving four countries continued Monday for a medical evacuation plane carrying seven people that is believed to have gone down off the coast of Senegal at the weekend.

Several aircraft and a naval ship were scouring “the estimated impact point”, 111 kilometres (60 nautical miles) west of Dakar, ANACIM, Senegal’s civil aviation authority, said in a statement.

They included French, Spanish and Portuguese planes, a French diplomat in Dakar told AFP.

In Paris, a French foreign ministry spokesman confirmed “the disappearance of a French national in the accident, on September 5, involving an air ambulance transporting her from Ouagadougou to Dakar”.

The HS125 twin-engine plane, belonging to the company Senegalair, was flying from Burkina Faso to Dakar when it disappeared from radars shortly after 7:00 pm (1900 GMT) on Saturday.

Apart from the French patient, the plane was carrying two Senegalese nurses and a Senegalese doctor as well as a Congolese man and two Algerian crew members.

ANACIM said the craft and a much bigger commercial jet may have “touched” in mid-air, while a local media outlet said the smaller plane was believed to have run out of fuel.

The plane crossed the path of a Boeing 737-800 operated by Ceiba Intercontinental Airlines, an airline based in Equatorial Guinea, at 1812 GMT around 555 kilometres from Dakar, according to the authority.

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